08 April 2009

I've been on the road a fair bit lately. Which I blame for any over-silliness in this post.


A Star is Born and the Lady is the Ambassador

Grand Star of the Oder of the Republic of Neues Sudland

"It's hideous! Garrotte, you fool, we wanted something dignified, resplendent and evocative of the riches of this great nation! Not a gaudy, oversized piece of costume jewellery that even the girls at Uncle Ho's would be ashamed to wear!"
In his hand President Rapp held the new decoration of the Order of The Republic. It weighed half a pound and was liberally sprinkled with diamonds, sapphires and, at first glance, dandruff.
"Jeez, Kel, I kind of like it." Juliette Buzzards eyes were firmly fixed on the glittering bauble. "Look at it sparkle!"
"Monsieur President, I assure you that this design is neither gaudy nor costume jewellery! It is based on an order granted by ze Sultan Turkique to ze grandfather of Moe Ahmoud, ze gems are real and so is ze gold! It cost 1,600 Liberties to make and will make ze crown-ed 'eads of Europe swoon!" Pierre Garrotte was determined to defend the first artistic thing he'd done in three decades.
"Don't give me that accent, Garrotte. You were born just up the road from me.... SIXTEEN HUNDRED QUID??!! Are you MAD? Do you know how many votes we could buy with that?" Rapps' face had gone an interesting puce colour as understanding of the cost of the star finally dawned.
"You wanted big, you wanted gaudy and you wanted gold, diamonds and bloody expense, cobber! Well, yer bloody well got all of 'em! And my accent ain't.. iz not fake!"
"Kel, settle down, mate." Unusually Red Ned was playing peace maker.
"Look, most of them inbred royal types haven't got the taste yer underwear gets after a month of hard riding, do they? All they'll see is expense, lots of expense. An' it's a big bludger, too. They're like magpies, mate- they'll love it. And we'll get a few orders for the regiments because they're too busy lookin' at the sparkles to worry about what the regiments cost."
"Besides, if we throw in 500 acres from that back 10 thou' near Darwin, they'll be in heaven, Kel. And really, it is pretty...." Juliette looked mesmerised by the decoration.
"Well, it's too late now! We'll give the first one to King Philip. We can present it to his ambassador tomorrow, when she presents her credentials. But who else? And let's keep the list short!"
"One to the Poms, mate, for letting us house the troops on that island." put in Stefan Smith, who had been woken by the President's shouting. "An' we owe one to that Beer Duchy bloke too, for the one he sent you, mate."
"And the Hetzenburgers, Kel. Apparently they're about to commission a woman! In the Artillery! That's unheard of in the Olde World. And don't forget Whatsisname from Montecristo, too. Those dresses he sent me, when we won government, were rooly nice. And I love his flag!"
"Louys, Comte de Monte Christo, Juliette."
"That's the bloke. Rooly nice."
"What about that bloke who came here and set up the government tailors? You know- he runs a Duchy in his spare time, when he ain't designing jocks and socks. Darrel, I think it was?" Larry Fergusonsson was still breathing. And still in the cabinet.
"You mean Freiherr David von Linienblatt, Larry? Of Tippelbruder?" Antonio von Albanees knew that Larry was putting it on, trying to upset him. These cretins, and that abhorrent decoration, were bringing on another migraine. "Without his advice our army would be wearing rags. If they were lucky. You remember, the rags your family used to make?"
"ENOUGH!! Very well, that will be enough!" Rapp was hoping Fergusonsson would actually be silly enough to attack Antonio, but was disappointed. Ever since he dealt with those three footpads ("Or is it feetpad?" wondered the President) when leaving Madame Celeste's House of Divine Discomfort, nobody fancied taking on Antonio. It could be a terminal error.
"Antonio, please draw up suitable Articles of Presentation for the British Prime Minister, Monte Christo, Beerstein, Hetzenburg and Tippelbruder. And of course, our good neighbour, King Philip. Stefan, you can do up the titles to their house blocks."
"Now. we have to finish preparations to receive the Ambassador from the Holy Kingdom. If there's nothing else?"
The members of the cabinet filed out.

"....And so we welcome you to our great nation in friendship, Lady Amanda!"
On queue the battery of guns started their 19 gun salute, the company of the Rostov Militia forming the Guard presented arms and, after three hours of waffle, the President's speech finally ended. Lady Amanda Hugankiss, Ambassador to The Republic of Neues Sudland from The Holy Mormoan Kingdom of New Wales, gracefully rose to give her reply.
"Hurley burley, what a girlie!" muttered Stefan Smith, who had been woken by the guns.
"Mate, there's hour glasses that she makes look shapeless! Gawd, she's gorgeous! An' she owns a brewery!"
Lady Amanda was indeed a most attractive and well proportioned woman. Her hair was shining like silk, she had poise and grace and, when she started to speak, her voice was melodious and yet carried across podium.
Antonio von Albanees sat there, totally transfixed. There was nothing he would not do for this elegant, well cultured and lovely woman. Nothing! "I wonder if she likes to spank?" flitted through his mind.
"I have here a letter from His Majesty, King Phillip, to the people and government of the Republic of Neues Sudland, which I would like to read to you:
To The Honourable President K Rapp
Allow me to introduce Lady Amanda Hugankiss.She is already well known in your Republic as the owner and brewer of fine beers and lagers that are consumed by your free and happy people.Today she presents her credentials as the Representative of The Holy Mormoan Kingdom Of New Wales.It is sincerely hoped she shall be received as such. It is My sincere hope, and that of my Government and People that our two great nations may co-habitat this great island continent in peace and mutual benefit.Of recent concern however has been cross border raids by criminal elements within your nation. I am assured by members of my Government that the persons responsible are brigands and criminal, (and probably sponsored by France). It must be said however that some within my council do suggest that these raids are actually the work of the RNS Army!I will leave it in your capable hands to confront this issue on your side of the border, and I will leave it to the Royal Army to deal with the problem on our side of the border.Lady Hugankiss will present members of a trade delegation to you. Primarily they represent wool and wheat growers.It is hoped that you will find their offers of trade and commerce agreeable.
"I can assure you, Madame Ambassador, that the raids shall not be repeated. We recently hanged several bushrangers who had been responsible. They were deserters from a number of our regiments, who still wore the remains of their old uniforms. Hence the mistaken belief that regiments of the Republic were indeed responsible."
"I'm glad they met the end they deserved, Mr President. I also believe the fact that the Dragon d'Cooma have embarked for Europe will also hep keep matters calm, don't you think?"
Rapp had been waiting for this.
"Indeed, Madame. And your aeronautical device should be able to confirm that they have been replaced by the 2nd Horse, who have now stationed a squadron at Alburburg, specifically so as to make sure that similar criminal acts do not occur again."
Lady Amanda was puzzled. What was an "aeronautical device"? And he didn't seem bothered at all that she knew of the troops heading to Europe. Why?
The guests mingled, barbed compliments were exchanged and the Reception Ball tottered through the night. Few foreign dignitaries ever bothered to make the trip to New Holland. Far fewer bothered to make the trek to Ekaterinsberg. So all the capital's privileged and "respectable" people had used whatever dirty tricks, threats and bribes they could to secure an invitation to the first ever Reception Ball.
The bright and blessed enjoyed the night. The food and drink were both very good and free. Liveried staff wandered through the crowds, keeping glasses full and, more importantly, listening in to what conversations they could. In the ceiling, eyes watched and noted who spoke to whom from the spy holes placed among the ornately painted mouldings. And in corners deals, of both business and personal natures, were struck.
But nobody noticed Antonio, sitting quietly at the head table. His eyes never left the new ambassador. And his jaw clenched every time someone acted in a manner he thought was too familiar. Which was most of the time.

At the docks in Darwin, Colonel O'Neill watched as the last company of men from the 8th Foot slowly climbed the gangway leading up to the deck of their troop ship. They were hours behind schedule and tempers had frayed long ago. He could hear the voices of officers and NCO's among the shouts of the ship's crew. Out on the harbour rode the rest of the ships, bar the one loading the last two companies of the 9th's 2nd Battalion. They'd missed the tide and wouldn't leave harbour now until midday, tomorrow. Still, there's no telling if the convoy from O'Donnell would meet them at Christmas Island or be delayed, either. At least the wet was ending, so they didn't have to fear storms. At least for now.
"All our men are accounted for, Sir. There's no more deserted, so we only lost the 53. The battalion guns are aboard and tied down, too." RSM Wendt was his usual, unflappable self.
"Well done, Lofty. We should be able to make up numbers at The Cape or when we get to Guernsey. I hope I can get a decent couple of horses there."
"You should be able to, Sir. I see Commodore Wong is ready. Will that thing keep up?"
"He says so. It looks like a pearling junk, but apparently it's as fast as these hulks the government is putting us on. And his little surprises on the gun deck will give anyone who tries to interfere with us a nasty belly ache. Let's go aboard!"


  1. David Linienblatt is most grateful for such a gracious presentation of this magnificent bauble - erm, Grand Star. He'll have his clothes specially reinforced to carry it.

    Tippelbruder, the 8th April 1759.

  2. Reich Duke Wilhelm was most gratified to receive the Grand Star. He has requested his tailor to design an over the shoulder sash to accommodate his new award. It will be placed on display in the Reichstadt for two weeks so all of Beerstein will have an opportunity to see the magnificent Grand Star.

  3. Excellent and amusing post! Very colorful lot down there!

  4. The dresses were 'rooly nice' indeed, made with the best products of the Soyeux of Lyons and Dentellieres of Le Puy: but chiefly they are exemples of that great Monte-Cristan invention, women's seducive dresses specially designed for moments of intimity. While France has the Secret du Roy, Monte-Cristo has Victoria’s Secret.